Archive for July, 2010

Lime Gauging and Lime Washes over American Clay: More than Just a New Palette

Have you ever noticed how just a couple of new ingredients changes everything exponentially?  We’re hard at work introducing a variety of finishes, experimenting, and developing a new palette of options.  One of the finish options  we work with is American Clay Lime Putty.  The focus here is lime gauging and lime wash effects that you can create used in conjunction with the already beautiful  American Clay’s  line of award-winning earth plasters- Loma, Porcelina, Maritimo and Enjarre. It is a pure high-calcium lime putty mixed with  the clay itself (lime gauging) or diluted with water and pigment if desired you create a lime wash by brushing over a previously earth clay troweled wall surfaces. The lime will continue to harden over the days and months ahead creating a harder finish. Benefits include breathability, mold and mildew resistance, and humidity buffering qualities.

Wall example with American Clay earth plaster- Lime gauged and Lime washed Enjarre, 1/3 wild horse smoke, skip troweled

The amazing part of it all is that the more we work with the lime effects (along with all the other finishes we have worked with) it continues to teach us something historically, architecturally, and artistically.

Burnished lime gauged Porcelina wall with Lake Tahoe

This example along the stairwell shows a porcelina clay which is lime gauged. When burnished it highlights  the lime and polishes nicely.

This yellow wall  has a lime wash. On Loma, Maritimo or Enjarre, the lime wash will be more matte. It can be uniformly applied or more random as in this detail image.

Lime washed Loma random application, Tuscan gold pigment, skip troweled and burnished

For more information on how to gauge lime putty and lime wash click here to learn more. This is great tutorial on American Clay’s website that will discuss techniques.

Below is a sample board that shows the  Chesapeake Bay Porcelina clay hard troweled with two lime washes applied and burnished. The right white lime wash is pure with no pigment, the left green is the snake river pigment with the lime wash and you can see  how quickly the green takes over the underlying clay yet it peaks through. Both create interesting effects. Varying degrees of lime wash with or without pigment can be applied.

We welcome and encourage conversation regarding lime gauging and lime washes.
We will soon have some workshops for Lime Putty exploration for those that have taken a previous American Clay workshop.
Looking forward to having more fun with our artistic fellow clay friends.
Varying degrees of lime wash with or without pigment can be applied

Tiles and Finish Ideas for your Wood-fired Oven!

Working on a wood-fired oven design and “ovenscape”? What thought are you giving to the artistic elements? In addition to researching your options, be sure to sit in your favorite inspirational place with your sketchpad and cool drink to think through the fun part.  There are so many ways to finish an oven and the surroundings. As a dealer of Forno Bravo wood-fired ovens and American Clay  I’ve come to appreciate a finishes as well as a wide selection of brick, natural lime finishes, stone, custom concrete and tile. I can appreciate a setting for wood-fired ovens with indigenous stonework where the oven blends into the landscape as well as does Hermits Rest at the Grand Canyon. I can appreciate an eco-modern custom concrete minimalist style that will cast a shadow of a basil leaf.  However, I am a little less excited about finishing off a perfectly wonderful installation with uninteresting surfaces with little thought to the shapes and lines that surround it.  Go for something that you love that will greet you every time you walk into your new cooking oasis! Allow your oven to reflect the delicious food it will deliver!  The ARCH is into finishes as our name implies. We can recommend a local concrete craftsman to create surfaces for the oven face, hearth, counter or benches. We can also offer Jim Erskine’s skills- an Asheville area mason of over thirty years- who can face the oven or foundation walls with rock, brick, or our new offering of  natural lime plaster finish that is historically time-honored for thousands of years. Then there are tiles,tiles, tiles and more tiles. Create a great keystone in an arch, an array of insets, a mosaic that hugs the entire oven, a theme of plants,  herbs, natural vines, geometrics, three dimensional or flat.  There are endless ideas to consider!  Above is a gallery of images for inspiration. Think about each image and don’t be confined to the shape of one piece- it’s just a sample not a composition. Take the time to think your about your selection of finishes and  design elements and have fun with the process!